With a second match against a top 4 side in as many weeks and a stretched squad across all three sides, the Colts would have to show their trademark courage and grit to pull off another win when they came up against Old Xavier this week. De La was happy to see the debut of Harry Bird and Josh Cumberlidge, both of which wasted no time in imposing themselves on the contest and would end up being in the best. Bird, a no nonsense workhorse, churned the ball out of the stoppage like clockwork, and Cumberlidge, a cheeky half-backer who’s as tough as nails, racked up 25 touches and almost as many fights.
The game followed a similar pattern all the way throughout, with De La getting on top creating a bit of a buffer but due to wasted opportunities, never closing the door completely on Xavier. Old Xavs would then work their way back into it and send a scare through the De La camp. De La managed to hold a 4 goal lead at half time.
Big “Romper” Martin and midfield stalwart Angus Sheedy were both feeling the toll of increased workloads over the last couple of weeks and had to rest forward in the second half. While the new midfield combination was building up some chemistry, Xavier got back on top and reduced the margin down to a couple of goals in what was definitely too close for comfort. O’Meara then stepped up and played a huge 3rd quarter, tacking hard and creating opportunities for his side. A couple of crucial late goals just before 3/4 time though, allowed De La to breathe a little easier, go in with a 4 goal margin and quell Old Xav’s momentum.
It was put to the boys to not make the same mistakes that we did last week, when we had a similar margin and let Bulleen run all over us in the last quarter and almost snatch victory. It was crucial we started the quarter off strongly. It was actually Martin and Sheedy who were resting forward that looked most dangerous, leading well at the ball carrier. Both converting opportunities to prevent any late match Xavier heroics. Liakakos and Anderson continued their rich vein of form, while Murray and Khan continue to operate well on the wings. Dannanoui is also starting to get back into the swing of things after a stint on the sidelines. One of the biggest strengths of the side though, continues to be the even spread of contribution with 9 different goal kickers and 15 players who could have been in the best, the side continues to march on.
With plenty of players eager to return to the side and one more match before the league’s break, one can hope that the Colts boys are getting primed for a big end to the year.